OIA has just become aware that a member of our international community was defrauded of a substantial sum of money through a scam targeting international students and scholars in the US. The scam consists of someone claiming to be an immigration official contacting the international student or scholar, stating that something is wrong with the person’s immigration record/status and that the only way to avoid imminent arrest and/or deportation is to pay certain fees. A very short time-line for such a payment is given and the person making the demand for payment may have certain personal facts. This makes the demand seem very real and the threats so much more frightening. In fact, the scammer may try to convince you that the University (OIA) does not have all relevant information and cannot be relied upon to advise you correctly regarding your lawful presence in the US. I assure you that this is false.
If you are approached in this or a similar manner, it is very important to understand that this is an attempt to defraud you. The person contacting you is not a legitimate law enforcement or immigration official and under no circumstances should you pay any money or otherwise follow the instructions given. This is not someone with legal authority or influence over your status in the US.
If you are approached, you should contact your local police department right away and then contact OIA. Here are the numbers:
Calling UCPD from a campus phone: Dial 123
Calling UCPD from any phone: Dial 773.702.8181
Calling the Chicago Police Department: Dial 911
Anywhere else in the US, calling your local police department: Dial 911
If you call a local police department and have difficulty with the process there, call UCPD for assistance.
Once you have contacted police, please also contact OIA. You can do so by either contacting your regular adviser in our office, or by calling/e-mailing OIA’s front office (773.702.7752; firstname.lastname@example.org) asking to be connected with OIA's Director, Tamara Felden.
Please do not hesitate to contact OIA if you have questions or concerns about this. Please also be a good ally to others who may not have received this message but may be at risk.